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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
Former runaways return to Gretna
Dennis and Eileen Howell on their wedding day in 2004
Postcards were sent from Ludlow to cover up that Eileen was in Scotland
A couple from Worcestershire who eloped to Gretna Green to marry when they were teenagers have returned to renew their wedding vows 65 years later.

Dennis and Eileen Howell from Redditch organised their wedding in secret in 1939, because their families thought they were too young.

Mr Howell said their years of marriage had proved their families wrong.

"They said it won't last too long and here we are 65 years later coming back," he said.

The former teenage sweethearts reaffirmed their vows in a special ceremony on Thursday.

'Married for life'

Back in 1939, Eileen got in touch with Gretna's blacksmith priest, Richard Renison, to arrange the wedding service.

She still has his letters laying down the terms and conditions.

The couple also had to comply with Scotland's strict 21-day residency laws, so Mrs Howell booked into a guest house in Gretna Green and told her parents she was on holiday in Ludlow, Shropshire.

Mr Howell covered up for her by cycling to Shropshire to send postcards back to his father-in-law-to-be.

"They just said we were too young and we didn't know what we were going in for at that age," Mrs Howell said.

"I suppose we always thought when you got married, you got married for life, so that was it."


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